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Pope Francis at the College of Cardinals meeting which included three female participants (Vatican Media)

Pope Francis’ Council of Cardinals concluded a meeting at the Vatican yesterday, reflecting on “the role of women in the Church”. Source: CNA.

Three women also participated in the two-day meeting, including a female Anglican bishop, Jo Bailey Wells.

Bishop Wells is deputy general secretary of the Anglican Communion and was part of the first generation of women ordained vicars in the Church of England in 1995. She is married to an Anglican clergyman and is the mother of two children.

Bishop Wells is also known for her advocacy of “gender equality” and for leading an interfaith meeting attended by Pope Francis in Kazakhstan in October 2022. She has also been chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Also meeting with the cardinal advisers were Giuliva di Berardino, a consecrated woman of the Ordo Virginum (Order of Virgins) of the Verona Diocese in Italy, and Linda Pocher, a teacher at the Pontifical Faculty of Educational Sciences Auxilium, who participated in the last meeting, in 2023.

In this most recent session, like the one held in December 2023, the members of the council delved deeper into the topic of the presence of women in the Church.

During the 2023 meeting, Pope Francis invited theologians to reflect on the Church as “woman and spouse” and said that “one of the sins committed” has been the tendency to “masculinise the Church”.

The Council of Cardinals, also known as “C9” for its nine members, collaborates directly with Pope Francis in the government of the Church. 

Its objective is to help the pontiff “in the government of the universal Church” as well as to work on a revision of the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus, which governs the Roman Curia, as Pope Francis has stated.


Female Anglican bishop participates in meeting with pope’s Council of Cardinals (By Almudena Martínez-Bordiú, CNA)